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eusebius' life of constantine book 3

This sacred cave, then, certain impious and godless persons had thought to remove entirely from the eyes of men, supposing in their folly that thus they should be able effectually to obscure the truth. Emperors who preceded Constantine relied heavily on the popular, and sometimes unpopular, tenets of polytheistic state religions, religions which used superstition, power, and human virtue, to expand conquests, boarders, and immorality. Skip to main content. Eusebius focuses much of his attention in painting Constantine in an extremely Christian light, building holy sites and destroying pagan temples. Thus were the lurking-places of the heretics broken up by the emperor's command, and the savage beasts they harbored (I mean the chief authors of their impious doctrines) driven to flight. Life of Constantine (Vita Constantini) is a panegyric written in honor of Constantine the Great by Eusebius of Caeserea in the 4th century AD. As soon, then, as his commands were issued, these engines of deceit were cast down from their proud eminence to the very ground, and the dwelling-places of error, with the statues and the evil spirits which they represented, were overthrown and utterly destroyed. Here men undeserving of the name forgot the dignity of their sex, and propitiated the demon by their effeminate conduct; here too unlawful commerce of women and adulterous intercourse, with other horrible and infamous practices, were perpetrated in this temple as in a place beyond the scope and restraint of law. They had strictly forbidden the prelates, anywhere or on any occasion, to convene synods; whereas he gathered them to his court from every province, received them into his palace, and even to his own private apartments and thought them worthy to share his home and table. Let this edict be made public. As soon as the emperor had spoken these words in the Latin tongue, which another interpreted, he gave permission to those who presided in the council to deliver their opinions. They ordered the priests themselves, amidst general laughter and scorn, to bring their gods from their dark recesses to the light of day: they then stripped them of their ornaments, and exhibited to the gaze of all the unsightly reality which had been hidden beneath a painted exterior. Chapter 3. About this page. How Constantine was stirred in Behalf of the Christiansthus in Danger of Persecution. The emperor himself soon after testified his reverence for the spot by princely offerings, and added to his mother's magnificence by costly presents of silver and gold, and embroidered hangings. Constantine is the first prince of any age who bound together such a garland as this with the bond of peace, and presented it to his Saviour as a thank-offering for the victories he had obtained over every foe, thus exhibiting in our own times a similitude of the apostolic company. In the next place he enclosed the atrium which occupied the space leading to the entrances in front of the church. She might be seen continually frequenting his Church, while at the same time she adorned the houses of prayer with splendid offerings, not overlooking the churches of the smallest cities. Buy The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine by Eusebius Pamphilus, Aeterna Press (ISBN: 9781785160738) from Amazon's Book Store. The emperor Constantine changed the world by making the Roman Empire Christian. One benefit, and that of no ordinary importance, has been conferred on us by my truly pious mother-in-law, in that she has made known to us by letter that abandoned folly of impious men which has hitherto escaped detection by you: so that the criminal conduct thus overlooked may now through our means obtain fitting correction and remedy, necessary though tardy. He also dispatched the following letter to the bishop who at that time presided over the church at Jerusalem, in which he clearly asserted the saving doctrine of the faith, writing in these terms. She declares that idols which should be utterly destroyed have been erected on the site of that tree; that an altar is near the spot; and that impure sacrifices are continually performed. Such is our Saviour's grace, that no power of language seems adequate to describe the wondrous circumstance to which I am about to refer. Understand now, by this present statute, you Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, you who are called Cataphrygians, and all you who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven; so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. May he preserve you, beloved brethren! After these things, the pious emperor addressed himself to another work truly worthy of record, in the province of Palestine. The majority of Constantine’s imperial letters appear in book 3. They had ordered the pagan temples to be sumptuously adorned: he razed to their foundations those of them which had been the chief objects of superstitious reverence. Surely it must seem to all who duly regard these facts, that a new and fresh era of existence had begun to appear, and a light heretofore unknown suddenly to dawn from the midst of darkness on the human race: and all must confess that these things were entirely the work of God, who raised up this pious emperor to withstand the multitude of the ungodly. If this then be really so, if I am not deceived in my judgment, let this, brethren, be your first consideration, for many and important considerations will immediately present themselves, whether, should you persist in your intention, that mutual kindly feeling and affection which should subsist among you will suffer no diminution? This section also established the … They, the victims of avarice, voluntarily subjected themselves as it were to the pangs of Tantalus: he with royal magnificence unlocked all his treasures, and distributed his gifts with rich and high-souled liberality. And, inasmuch as this object could not be effectually and certainly secured, unless all, or at least the greater number of the bishops were to meet together, and a discussion of all particulars relating to our most holy religion to take place; for this reason as numerous an assembly as possible has been convened, at which I myself was present, as one among yourselves (and far be it from me to deny that which is my greatest joy, that I am your fellow-servant), and every question received due and full examination, until that judgment which God, who sees all things, could approve, and which tended to unity and concord, was brought to light, so that no room was left for further discussion or controversy in relation to the faith. Being filled, too, with Divine wisdom, he determined to purge the city which was to be distinguished by his own name from idolatry of every kind, that henceforth no statues might be worshipped there in the temples of those falsely reputed to be gods, nor any altars defiled by the pollution of blood: that there might be no sacrifices consumed by fire, no demon festivals, nor any of the other ceremonies usually observed by the superstitious. Now when the appointed day arrived on which the council met for the final solution of the questions in dispute, each member was present for this in the central building of the palace, which appeared to exceed the rest in magnitude. After passing the whole period of her life, even to declining age, in the greatest prosperity, and exhibiting both in word and deed abundant fruits of obedience to the divine precepts, and having enjoyed in consequence an easy and tranquil existence, with unimpaired powers of body and mind, at length she obtained from God an end befitting her pious course, and a recompense of her good deeds even in this present life. In this manner numberless assertions were put forth by each party, and a violent controversy arose at the very commencement. For our pious directions to them are to the effect that artificers and laborers, and whatever they shall understand from your sagacity to be needful for the advancement of the work, shall immediately be furnished by their care. 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